FEMME FEED | AN INSTALLATION OF “OF THE MOMENT”
STORIES FOR GIRLS IN THE KNOW.
For those women about to give birth, who planned their pregnancy with their partner, who waited until they were ready to bring a child into this world, who studied, who worked, who took care of themselves to give their child the best possible entrance into this world: thank you, good job, gold star.
To everyone else, it’s OK. You’re in equal company: Currently half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.
If you take birth control, use a condom, or support Planned Parenthood, you’re not an evil person with murderous tendencies. You’re responsible when it comes to your fertility.
Let’s start with the basics: Men and women have sex outside of marriage, consensual or not. Boys and girls start having sex as young as middle school. Pregnant teens are a normal sight in high schools. Most of these young girls are shamed by her peers and her peer’s family members: She’s labeled a disgrace, a whore, a life wasted by her inability to keep her legs closed, and an example of her parent’s failure of proper child raising.
What about the boy who got her pregnant? Where’s his shame? Where’s his Scarlet Letter? If he decides to be an active father, even marry the girl, he’s generally considered a hero for stepping up to the plate in a difficult situation.
Take that same scenario, but this time the girl is so scared to shame, not just herself, but her parents, to walk around school — the whole town — being judged and bullied at every turn, knowing her parents won’t support her or her baby, so she takes matters into her own ill equipped hands, finding a do-it-yourself abortion option or some underground hack to do a sloppy, unsafe job, which could cause her own death?
In other words, watch Dirty Dancing again! The whole reason Baby becomes Johnny’s new dance partner is because Penny has to get an abortion on the black market and almost dies because of it.
Yeah, that flew over my head the first hundred times I watched it too. But I do remember identifying with Baby, knowing that she was just trying to help her friend caught in a bad situation.
In this case, it’s an unwanted pregnancy caused by a cheating womanizer who refuses to take responsibility or care for her — who also happens to be Baby’s older sister’s cheating boyfriend. (Wow, I really did miss a lot of the drama that was going on in that movie!)
These examples are more common and tame compared to the rape, incest, certain death to the mother, abusive, or poverty stricken household that a child would be forced into if an unwanted pregnancy continued.
Whatever your religion says about the subject of abortion or sex before marriage is irrelevant to the laws of the United States.
Once again, separation of church and state is in our Constitution for a reason. If my religion, for instance, wants to make unmarried sex completely illegal or cheating punishable by death, too bad, that’s not a good enough reason; it’s still unconstitutional.
Let’s look at what is currently considered constitutional, and perhaps, why a lot of moral conservatives voted for an immoral and corrupt Trump:
Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973): the Supreme Court rules in favor of Roe, 7-2, allowing a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy as a Constitutional Right of privacy founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty.
Important to note here, this decision was made by an all white, all male, Court who also were confused about how trimesters and fetal viability work, and made concessions to when States could intervene in stopping abortions.
Basically in the first trimester, a woman and her physician could make whatever choice she wanted. In the second and third trimesters or when the fetus was able to survive outside the womb, the States could intervene.
Also important to note, the Court was more interested in protecting physicians’ rights rather than women’s rights in general.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (June 29, 1992): New Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy, and David H. Souter opinions win a plurality decision. This ruling, not only upholds Roe v. Wade, it clarifies it.
Most importantly, it reaffirms that a woman has the right to choose to end her pregnancy before fetal viability and without undue burden by the State.
Undue burden is the standard for which States’ abortion laws are ruled unconstitutional or not. For instance, a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion is not considered a subnational enough obstacle for a woman, but requiring spousal consent definitely is an undue burden.
States still have a lot of rights too after they deem the fetus viable. And, in any case, at any time, if the women’s health is at risk, the abortion can still be performed.
So what we have now is a bubbling tension between State and Federal jurisdiction. Current federal law has been decided and revisited in favor of a woman’s Constitutional Right to Choose.
Yet the hope from most religious conservatives in voting for Trump is that he will appoint a Justice that will tip the balance in overturning Roe v. Wade. Trump’s recent pick of Neil Gorsuch suggests he will be in line with the late Justice Scalia’s conservative view.
In essence, the Court’s balance will remain the same, regardless of Gorsuch’s views, unless he surprises us all. It’s in the next Supreme Court pick after him that can tip it to a majority conservative bench.
This is the hope from the religious conservatives: That Trump will be able to appoint 2 conservative justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and the States will once again be free to place undue burdens on women again when it comes to her current rights.
Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have trigger laws that would go into effect immediately if Roe v. Wade was overturned, outlawing abortions outright.
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington, on the other hand, have laws that would keep abortion legal.
How can some States be right when others are wrong? How can one group of Judges be right when others aren’t?
What about that scared girl being forced to do it herself again? Do we really think criminalizing abortion is going to stop it?
Maybe when we stop rape, abuse, and oppression of women, abortions will end too.
Until then, mind your own business, don’t put me in a corner, and get your government hands off my body.